Breaking: Earthquake hits Iran 24hrs after death of President, Foreign Minister

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Devastation from the earthquake and the late President Raisi inset

A 3.7 magnitude earthquake has hit Malayer in the Hamedan province of Western Iran on Monday.

The disaster comes barely 24 hours after the death of Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi alongside the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister and a couple of other top government officials in a tragic helicopter crash on Sunday with no survivors.

No immediate reports of the quake’s casualties have been recorded.

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Iran has been plunged into deep mourning after Raisi and his entire entourage perished in the crash.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah has declared five days of national mourning for the deceased.

The country’s Vice President has been announced as acting President, while the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister is to serve as the substantive minister in the ministry.

Iran under Raisi is said to have been sponsoring terrorist groups like Hamas in Gaza, which invaded Israel on October 2023 and killed over 1,200 Israelis and taken over 200 others captive.

Other terrorist groups it sponsors include Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Houthis in Yemen.

The late President, nicknamed the Butcher of Tehran, was responsible for the brutal mass murder of over 30,00 Iranian prisoners after the Iran-Iraq war in the late 1980s.

Weeks before his death, Raisi became the first Iranian President to launch hundreds of direct missile and rocket attacks on Israel, which many feared could culminate in World War 3 given the precarious situation in the Middle East triggered by the War in Gaza.

Raisi distinguished himself as a notably cruel enforcer for Iran’s dogmatic new leader, Ayatollah Khomeini.

Those who had once opposed the Shah’s regime because they were democrats or socialists – rather than Islamists – were declared ‘enemies of God’ and persecuted terribly.

As a judge, Raisi specialised in handing out death sentences after five-minute trials. In one particularly brutal purge, he condemned as many as 5,000 people in just a few weeks, often supervising the executions himself.

Victims were hanged in public, their own children sometimes forced to watch.

Career success did not moderate his outlook. Raisi’s elevation to president of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2021 was a sign that his patron, the new Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei (successor to Khomeini) wanted to crack down on dissent at home and assert Iran’s influence abroad.

Rigid enforcement of clothing rules for women was one signal that the ruling zealots would not bend or moderate their views, whatever the domestic pressure from a discontented population.

And when it came to foreign affairs, it was Raisi who ramped up Iran’s support for radical Islamist groups such as Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen, in a bid to disrupt a united, American-led West.

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